Movie Review: The Rules Don’t Apply

The last movie Warren Beatty has been in was Town and Country that came out in 2001 and was considered mostly a pretty average movie. The last movie that Warren Beatty wrote, starred in and directed was Bullworth and that movie came out in 1998 and was mostly considered a good movie. The new Warren Beatty movie “The Rules Don’t Apply” was both written, starred in and directed by Warren Beatty and one has to wonder if this is the last movie he will ever make, given the long period of time between movies he has been involved in. While watching this film, I was wondering how long he took Beatty to write the screenplay for this movie? Could it have been most of the entire 15 years or perhaps in erratic spurts where he wrote and re-wrote the same script 50 or 100 times over the years, always looking for that perfect story or perfect ending? Unfortunately, from what I saw, it looked like this movie was written and re-written way too many times and the end result was a boring, disjointed, and mostly bad movie, with numerous Hollywood current and former stars, all probably friends of Beatty with the one bright spot being Lilly Collins who should have a very long career as a major actress in Hollywood.

This movie is mostly about two things. The strange and very depressing life of Howard Hughes whose very wealth and family fortune could have been his ultimate undoing and Hughes involvement with Hollywood, moviemaking and young women whom he promised Hollywood stardom only to later rudely ignore them, probably more because of his OCD problems and insanity than any other reason. These two story lines are not really related to each other especially considering that most of the non-Hollywood part of this movie had to do with Howard Hughes involvement with the Aviation Industry. This entire two-hour film flipped back and forth from the possible stardom of Marla Mabry played by Lilly Collins and Howard Hughes to his assistants and his problems with bank loans and the Aviation field. Mostly due to this constant story flipping and boring story I was looking at my watch, wondering when this pretty bad movie was finally going to end. It doesn’t take a great deal of thought to wonder why this movie was made, but clearly in this case, it is because of Hollywood clout and the producer’s belief in the “built in” fans of Warren Beatty would come out to see this movie regardless of the story or the quality. I was surprised how mostly bad and boring this movie was, considering all the people involved, but I guess what this proves in that 15 years of writing and re-writing one movie is probably more of a guarantee of a bad movie than a good one. The good things about this movie are Lilly Collins, who is the daughter of singer Phil Collins and has great future potential and great Hollywood looks and a few minor moments of humor. The bad things are many, starting with and most importantly how very boring this too long two-hour movie was.

The movie The Rules Don’t Apply is just not worth seeing and I do not recommend it.

Movie Review: Allied

Probably in many massive warehouses around the world, there are the stored vehicles, airplanes, clothing and millions of artifacts from the years 1939-1945, arguably the most significant 6 years in human history. You have to admire that when you see a vintage World War 2 film like Allied, the producers and directors of a movie like this are able to gather together all of these old cars and war planes and somehow get them all to run and look like they did 70 years ago. There are many scenes in Allied that show many cars and planes from this era as this movie takes place in occupied France in the 1940’s and then England. Perhaps one day it will no longer be possible to make a World War 2 movie because the old machinery will just be too old to get to run again and perhaps building cars from that era would be too costly, but that is where computer animation comes in. I also thought about how many thousands of movies around the world have been made about the most important 6 year period in human history and that has to be a very large number.

As far as the movie Allied I thought it captured the period during the early 1940s in France and England very well, and the special effects showing air raids and plane crashes were quite impressive. The story of this movie is about 2 spies for England who are stationed in occupied France to spy on the Germans, what follows are many scenes of espionage, spying and paranoia and then a love story between the two spies played by Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard. As one would expect, a love story and eventual marriage and child between two spies in World War 2 would cause massive complications and as far as that aspect of the story, I thought it was well done. There are several love scenes between Cotillard and Pitt that are rumored to be one of the reasons for Brad Pitt’s recent divorce from Angelina Jole and from these scenes it is believable that this could be one of the causes. This movie is very well directed by Robert Zemeckis.

This is not a great movie about World War 2, just a good one and I do recommend it.

Movie Review: Bad Santa 2

One thing that separates people who aspire to be funny either as a writer or a stand-up comedian is that some people are fascinated by why something is funny but most people just don’t really care, they just laugh never appreciating or knowing why they laughed. Why is something funny and something not funny? Is this something that can be figured out, or is too complicated to figure out?

Over the years there have been many raunchy foul-languaged laden movies that have come out and most are just not funny because of the simple fact that constant cursing and being raunchy by itself is not funny. There has to be something more. So why is Bad Santa and the sequel Bad Santa 2 so very funny? Is it the fact that Billy Bob Thorton is just a great comedic actor or does he deliver the sounds and personality of a broken down drunken loser of a person capable of non-stop and believable cursing and raunchy sexual behavior better and funnier than anybody ever has? Is it the writing and the comedic timing and the perfect comedy chemistry of Billy Bob Thorton who plays Willie Soke, and Tony Cox who plays Marcus Skidmore? Willie and Marcus are partners in crime in this movie, almost exactly as they were in Bad Santa, released a long 13 years ago in 2003. Both of them are criminals who pose as Santa Clause in order to commit some sort of robbery at the company they work for. In this movie, Willie’s mother played very well by Kathy Bates gets involved with Willie and Marcus latest scheme to rob of all things a charity in Chicago. Kathy Bates portrayal of Willie’s horrible mother, leaves no no doubt as to why Willy turned out so badly in his life.

From the beginning of this movie, the dark and horrific squalor of Willie’s life as a drunken and miserable person who has no money, somehow translates, only because of the skill of Billy Bob Thorton, as a comedic scenario that at its lowest level of darkness, actually becomes funny in a very unusual way that has never been approached by any other comedy movie that I have seen. In my opinion, the most important ingredient as to why these Bad Santa movies are so funny is because of the use of extreme contrast. For me, the main reason why this movie works is because of the polar differences between the disgusting and miserable demeanor of just about everybody else in the film and Thurman Mermon, played by Brett Kelly. In both films, Thurman is an innocent, naive, and depressingly stupid kid who follows Willy around like he is the greatest person and friend in the world, only to be rudely pushed away and cursed at time after time. There is something about the tirade of foul mouth cursing that Willie does around Thurman that is so funny because of this extreme contrast between the two characters. The pathetic differences between Thurman and Willie is the main ingredient that has had me laughing as hard as I ever have in any comedy movie I have ever seen. Not only is the cursing effective, but the tirades are so long and at times so insane, you just can’t help but laugh. Not a normal laugh, but a low-level diaphragm-like laugh that is so rare in life and definitely the great majority of comedy movies.

Bad Santa and Bad Santa 2 are not movies for everyone, and perhaps not even an acquired taste. There is a ton of foul language, some disgusting acts and raunchy sexual scenes, but in the end, both of these extremely well done and unusual comedy films reach a level of funny and unusual that is worth seeing.

I highly recommend Bad Santa 2.